Edge of Darkness
by Laura Tucker
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Edge of Darkness is one of those movies that just makes you curious. I like Mel Gibson thrillers, so I was intending to see it in the theater originally, but somehow it came and went without me getting that chance. Then again it was out the same time as Avatar, so maybe it never had much of a chance. The question, of course, is did this movie based on a BBC TV series deserve a bigger chance than it got?
Gibson stars as Thomas Craven, a police detective. His adult daughter, Emma (Bojana Novakovic), arrives for a visit and it’s clear she’s hiding something. She’s throwing up before she even gets in his car. As he’s preparing dinner, Emma explains she’s really not much more than an intern at the company she works at, Northmoor, so getting the time off wasn’t a problem. She throws up blood after saying she thinks she just has a bug, and as Thomas is rushing his daughter to the hospital, he opens the door, and Emma is shot and killed. I need to point out this was the most poorly acted death scene, in my mind only rivaling what you would see kids doing at play, but I don’t think kids even do that anymore, preferring to kill each other in video games instead.
It’s immediately assumed that the killer was after Thomas, but as he starts to go through her things, he begins to question that. The big question is if she was the target, why would anyone want to kill her, but beyond that, what was making her so sick? Thomas tracks down Emma’s boyfriend, which only brings up more questions, then pays a visit to Northmoor. Her boss (Danny Huston) certainly seems like he has something to hide, and there’s potential there for lots of hiding of the truth, as Northmoor is manufacturing nuclear weapons that are being sold to other countries, and has it set up so that if they’re ever set off, they can only be tracked back to the other countries instead of Northmoor.
More people connected to Northmoor are murdered, as Thomas pushes on with his own personal investigation. He’s being tracked by a couple of thugs from Northmoor who seem intent on making him the next victim, as well as a “consultant”, Jedburgh (Ray Winstone), who is supposed to stop him from going any further. Somehow they create a relationship with each other and gleem information from each other out of some sort of common respect.
Despite the poorly acted death scene in the beginning of the film, all other death scenes, and the movie has its share, are run-of-the-mill and what you would expect from a top notch action film. Gibson does make a great comeback here. He’s the very picture that you would expect of a dad looking for revenge. As his fellow actor Huston notes in the special features, Gibson “has these wonderful, cold, pale, movie star eyes that brim with emotion.” After not appearing in a film in a number of years, Gibson himself says, “To be frank, I’m getting too old for this shit.” Does he look a little long in the tooth? Yes. It’s obvious he’s aged a few years in his absence, but he can still pull off a pretty good action flick.
Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, provides reviews at Viewpoints, and provides entertainment news pieces at Gather. She is also an Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.
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